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Pioneering Lesbian Chicago Cop, Animal Rescuer Nancy Lipman Dies at 61

Nancy Lipman

Lipman, who rose from patrol officer to commander of the public transportation unit with the Chicago police, was a noted animal activist.

Nancy Lipman, an advocate for LGBTQ+ and women officers in the Chicago Police Department and a passionate animal rescuer, has died at age 61.

Lipman died of ovarian cancer April 11, her wife, Joanne M. Kenol, told the Chicago Sun-Times last week.

Beginning in the mid-1980s, Lipman had a 30-year career with the Chicago police, during which she "rose from patrol officer to commander of the public transportation unit," the Sun-Times reports.

She supported fellow LGBTQ+ officers through the Lesbian Gay Police Association-Gay Officers Action League of Chicago and in 1991 became one of the first supervisors to ride on the police department float in the city's Pride parade. "It was a huge thing," Detective Jamie Richardson, president of the LGBTQ+ police group, told the paper. "Not too many bosses would be on the float."

She recalled dealing with homophobia early in her career. As a rookie cop, she once told Windy City Times, she "heard a lieutenant at roll call say we should go back to Germany and bring back the ovens to use on 'faggots.'"

"I wondered whether the officers sitting around me experienced even a fraction of the horror that statement evoked in me," she said.

She also spoke up for women in the department. Once, when a fellow officer asked if he could have lunch with her, she said he could if he put a woman on his tactical team, a group of officers deployed in high-risk situations. He soon chose her to join the team.

Lipman was noted for her love of animals. She would frequently rescue abandoned or mistreated dogs and find homes for them. At one point, during a drug bust, she discovered a puppy that had been set on fire. She took the dog to a veterinarian for treatment and then found it a home with her neighbors.

Survivors, besides her wife, include her son, Christopher; three grandchildren; and a brother, Daniel.

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